In the 1890s the Dutch painter, George Hendrik Breitner took nude reference photos for his paintings. In the 1990s they were found.
Breitner the painter never rested. He was a relentless innovator and in this vein made extensive use of the relatively new medium of photography. He saw in it a reference tool that could help add authentic levels of realism to his art. Over time he built up his own reference library of photographs of the subjects which became his principal themes. It’s due to the his embracing of the medium we have so many views of the Amsterdam of the time. In 1996 a whole horde of his images we’re discovered. Among these were photographs of Geesje Kwak, the teenage muse for his “girl in a kimono” series, a quantity of quality early street photography and other imagery clearly intended as reference for paintings.
And these nudes. They’re not all exactly what you’d expect from art reference nude photography at the prudish turn of the century. These women are at ease and comfortble with being naked, happy even. They look although they walk around naked all the time. Some of the most beautiful images are those Breitner shot of his wife, Marie Jordan.
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